Blackened Fried Shrimp

I could probably eat a ton of these blackened fried shrimp. I was already badly addicted to fried shrimp. Then along came these beyond-delicious treats and my addiction somehow got worse. I didn’t even think that was possible. Yummy crunchy batter that has a great light spiciness to it. The batter isn’t too thick. It isn’t too thin. You really just can’t stop eating them.
Blackened Fried Shrimp

For a little extra kick, sprinkle the shrimp with more of the seasoning just after you remove them from the hot oil. Why go thru the trouble of making the blackened seasoning from scratch? That store-bought stuff is just way too salty for me. But you’re certainly free to use it.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Blackend Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the blackened seasoning (may make a bit more than you'll need)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

For the flour station

  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning from above

For the dipping station

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  • Place shrimp into a large bowl. Season with two teaspoons of the blackened seasoning and toss well.
  • Combine the flour and blackened seasoning. Dip the shrimp into the mixture and coat well. Transfer to a plate and place into the freezer for five minutes. Reserve the flour mixture.
  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Whisk together the egg, milk and hot sauce in a pie plate or shallow dish.
  • Dip the shrimp into the egg mixture and then return to the flour mixture to coat.
  • Shake off excess flour and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
  • Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

My two biggest food obsessions? Chicken wings and fried shrimp. I could eat either one any time, any where. I’ve never had wings or shrimp that I didn’t absolutely love. Like these Cajun fried shrimp. Lightly crunchy. Stick-to-the-shrimp batter. A little heat. Perfectly cooked.Cajun Fried Shrimp

This is shrimp done up right. I served these Cajun fried shrimp with a crazy wonderful remoulade that has ended up being a shrimp-dipping staple in our house. It’s great for fries fish, too.

For that little extra ‘something’ sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning just before serving.

Also try my crispy fried shrimp and my blackened fried shrimp.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Spicy Remoulade Sauce recipe follows

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 medium lemon juices

Instructions

  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • In a pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and mustard.
  • In another pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, cayenne and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, add the shrimp to the flour mixture and coat well.
  • Shake off excess then place into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off excess then return to the flour mixture, coating again.
  • Add to the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve with the spicy remoulade sauce.

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

I can eat an embarrassing amount of crispy fried shrimp. My addiction to these little goodies started as a child. Maybe once every few months we would eat out at Sizzler. I would always get the fried shrimp. I would devour them.

That tradition lives on, believe me. That’s why I make them at home. In bigger batches. These crispy fried shrimp are nice and crispy and have a fantastic lightly savory flavor. No overpowering flavors here, you can still taste the wonderful shrimp.
Crispy Fried ShrimpI like to use shrimp that aren’t too big or too small when I make crispy fried shrimp. For me, 21-25 count (that means 21-25 shrimp are in a pound) are the perfect size. If I can get them, I use Louisiana Gulf Shrimp. I believe they have the best flavor but you can use whatever you prefer (or can find).

You can use pre-shelled and pre-deveined shrimp but give them a once-over before using to make sure that there aren’t any shell pieces or veins left. Just in case.

If you’re looking for something super-simple for dipping your delicious crispy fried shrimp, try my quick cocktail sauce.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unshelled medium raw shrimp 21-25 count
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs substitute Panko bread crumbs for even more crunch
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Remove the shells from the shrimp up to the tail section. Make an incision down the back and remove the vein. Rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl or pie plate combine the egg and milk.
  • Place the flour in another large bowl or pie plate.
  • And in another large bowl or pie plate place the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic and onion powders.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture. Shake off excess and then roll in flour.
  • Return shrimp to the egg mixture and coat again. Shake off excess and then roll in the bread crumb mixture, coating well.
  • Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to let drain before serving.

Smoked Cheetos

Well, yep, smoked Cheetos are different. And boy, you gotta be careful smoking them too. It doesn’t take much smoke to get these little crunchy morsels mighty smoky. I admit, my first time making them I got distracted and smoked them longer than I should have. I was able to rescue them (the longer they rest after smoking, the more mellow the smoke flavor gets) but I suggest you start with less smoke time, try them, and go from there. They come out totally new, something people won’t expect! Nice and crunchy and smoky cheesy!

To smoke Cheetos you use a cold smoking technique. You do not want high heat. You can get by with temperatures up to 180 F, but I suggest cold smoking, which is generally below 90 F.

Smoked Cheetos

I use an A-Maze-N smoke tube when cold smoking. It gives me perfect control over the temperature and produces consistent smoke. I buy wood pellets and stuff the tube completely, then light one end. The tube stays lit for a few hours, perfect for smoking Cheetos. I highly recommend it. It’s also great for adding smoke flavor to dishes being cooked on a gas grill.

Since you have your cold smoke set-up going, throw on some potato chips or Chex mix too!

Smoked Cheetos

Course Appetizer
Author Mike

Ingredients

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • 4 lit charcoal briquettes
  • 1 small chunk apple wood

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • wood pellets

For the smoked Cheetos

Instructions

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • Place the 4 lit briquettes in the bottom of your smoker.
  • Add the wood chunk.
  • Once the wood is smoking, you can add the Cheetos.

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • Fill the tube with the wood pellets. Place into the bottom of your smoker and light one end. Once the pellets produce smoke, you can add the Cheetos.

For the smoked Cheetos

  • Place the Cheetos in an aluminum pan over your cold smoke setup that is already producing smoke (from above).
  • Smoke 20-30 minutes, gently tossing once or twice, until the desired smoke taste is achieved.
  • It's best to let the smoked snacks sit out for a while before serving. The smoke flavor can be a little strong at first. A little rest time will mellow it.

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

The reason I made such a big batch of these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites isn’t because I needed a huge amount for a family get-together. Sure, I needed some, but not a ton. Nope, I made a big batch because I wanted more for myself. Sorry, but it’s true. I was being selfish, but for a good reason. I love them. Crunchy, a bit buttery, and definitely cheesy. And made with real cheese!
Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

You don’t have to use pretzels to make these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites. If you prefer, any cracker will do, specially oyster crackers or saltines. Just don’t substitute something that is strongly flavored and might not go well with the cheddar. That would make for a bowl of sadness.

Also check out my balsamicpizza,and spicy garlic ranch pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 pound

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  • Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil and cheddar seasoning.
  • Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
  • Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

We’ve all had the ‘standard’ appetizer meatballs. Heck, I’ve had more than my share, I admit it. Proudly. These peach and chili sauce meatballs are not those meatballs, though you might think they are at first. No, these are way, way, way better. The flavor is unmatched. The sauce will have you reaching for a spoon, a straw or even a piece of bread because you don’t want to waste a drop.

These take about 3 hours to make, which gives you 3 hours to come up with some sort of story to tell everyone as to why half of them disappeared before you served them.
Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

I do like spicy foods. So I used Sambal Oelek in these peach and chili sauce meatballs. It’s not overly spicy, but it does add a really nice kick. Now, if I was making these for a get-together or the big game I’d probably make two different batches, one with out the chili sauce, and one with. But for me, the kicked-up version is all I’ll ever need!

Also try my sweet-and-spicy appetizer meatballs.

Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 24 ounce packages frozen pre-cooked meatballs
  • 1/2 cup butter 1 full stick
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 ounce can beef broth
  • 1 18 ounce jar peach preserves
  • 1 12 ounce jar chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Asian red chili paste or 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic, stir and saute for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the flour and whisk for 1 minute to cook.
  • Add the broth and stir. Bring to a boil and let boil until thickened, 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the peach preserves, chili sauce, chili paste, Worcestershire sauce and onion soup mix. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Add the meatballs to a 5 quart slow cooker on high heat.
  • Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover and heat for 3 hours, stirring gently every 30 minutes or so.

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

It’s impossible to make too many of these mini deep dish pizzas. They’re perfect for the big game or any get-together. They’re easy to make, and with a little imagination, you can make a variety of them to please anyone. We decided to go the simple route and just top these pizzas with cheese and mini pepperonis. We both thought they were fantastic.
Mini Deep Dish PizzasMake sure you leave the mini deep dish pizzas in the oven long enough to get a bit of a crunchy crust on them. They’ll also get a bit more crunchy after you take them out of the oven and cool a bit.

Also try my homemade pizza rolls.

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 32 mini-pizzas

Ingredients

  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 36-48 mini pepperonis
  • Dried Italian seasoning or oregano crumbled (optional)
  • Dried red pepper flake optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
  • Working in batches, cut the tortillas into 2" circles using a circular cookie cutter.
  • Press the tortillas into the bottom of the muffin tins.
  • Top with a little pizza sauce, the cheeses, pepperonis and seasonings.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  • Let cool slightly before removing and serving.

Cheerios Nuggets

As simple as they are, these Cheerios nuggets are downright addicting. I could not stop ‘sampling’ them as I packaged them up as a gift for our neighbors. I admit that a good number of them didn’t quite find their way into the bag. Nicely sweet, definitely crunchy, and slightly salty thanks to roasted peanuts, these make for a great treat for a crowd.
Cheerios Nuggets

I may change up the recipe for Cheerios nuggets just a tad next time. I really liked the contrast of the salty peanuts against the sweetness of the cereal and the caramel sauce. Perhaps I’ll add more nuts next time, and mix it up a bit. Perhaps some roasted pecans, even almonds, would be nice too.

Also try my pizza pretzel nuggets.

Cheerios Nuggets

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling time 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 2 cups salted roasted peanuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250 F.
  • Grease two 9x13 pans.
  • Also grease a large heat-proof bowl. Add the Cheerios and peanuts to the bowl and mix.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, and then cook another 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will turn blonde in color and will be light and fluffy. Use a spatula to combine and coat the cereal mixture.
  • Divide the mixture between the two pans and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes.
  • Break the cereal into bite-sized pieces and let cool completely, another 30 minutes.
  • Serve.

Pizza Rolls using the Vortex

I make a lot of chicken on my Vortex. Wings and ‘fried’ chicken are my favorites. And sometimes there’s a bit of space left around the grill. That’s when Totino’s pizza rolls make an appearance. Nothing fru-fru, nothing complicated. But, oh so tasty. Roasting them using the Vortex gives them an extra-special crunchiness that you just can’t get in the oven.
Pizza Rolls using the Vortex

Pizza rolls using the Vortex don’t take as long as chicken to cook, so you can either put them on later if you want them with your chicken, or start them at the same time so you have a little treat to much on while the chicken is finishing. If you are sharing space on the grill with raw chicken make sure that the rolls and chicken don’t touch. I like to put them on opposite sides of the grill.

I like to serve my pizza rolls with a bit of warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

Also try chicken fingers on the Vortex.

Pizza Rolls using the Vortex

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Cook Time 25 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

Ranch Sourdough Pretzel Bites

You can sit down and eat pretzel bites out of the bag and think, “Hey, these are pretty good”. Or with just a few more ingredients, you can sit down with a bowl of these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites and know that you’ve just had something truly incredible. Each bite has a hint of butter. A hint of herby Ranch dressing, and a really awesome citrusy pepper flavor that’s just barely there, but oh does it make a difference.
Ranch Sourdough Pretzel BitesI often make appetizers like these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites using just oil, or melted butter. I recently came across the idea of using popcorn oil, which of course combines both oil and butter. The flavor is more fantastic, and it doesn’t get any easier than just measuring the oil out of a bottle. I’ll definitely make all my snacks this way from here on.

I couldn’t find my lemon pepper seasoning (I am reminded that someday, maybe, I’ll arrange the spices in my pantry in alphabetical or at least some sensible order). I substituted lime pepper seasoning I have to say it was fantastic. The citrus flavor in either case isn’t going to scream out at it, it just adds that special something.

Also check out my balsamicpizza,and spicy garlic Ranch, deluxe cheddar and Buffalo Ranch sourdough pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!

Ranch Sourdough Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 1 pound

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce bag pretzel bites
  • 1/2 cup Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix half of a packet
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning lime pepper is also fantastic!
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  • Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil, Ranch dressing mix, lemon pepper, garlic powder and dill weed.
  • Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
  • Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.